TURN UP THE HEAT Veggie chilli packs an aromatic punch.
I was having a refreshing skinny dip in Clew Bay under the watchful eye of Croagh Patrick with Dave and Stephen Flynn from the trendy and in-demand Happy Pear food business. Some years ago they gave up meat, and now eat only plant products. Their vegan lifestyle means they don’t even touch butter!
I asked them how their vegetarian mission was progressing throughout Ireland, where customs and traditions play such an important part in our diets, and they responded with enthusiasm that more and more people were seeing the health benefits of vegetarianism.
I take the middle ground and believe a little of everything is okay in moderation, as long as it causes no harm to others. That obviously means excluding any animals raised in factory conditions or denied a fair existence.
The twins later cooked up a storm at Westport’s SuperValu and stayed to chat with everyone about their favourite recipes. Here is a light summer meal inspired by their enthusiasm.
Purely veggie chilli
The Happy Pear tend to use a lot of different ingredients, but us cooks are meant to keep a stable of flavour basics, such as smoked paprika and cumin and other spices, so multi-ingredient recipes should be no bother to us! As always, it’s about the integration of different flavours and the mixing in of different textures at different times.
I met someone last night that had cooked Sandra’s favourite vegetable pie recently but felt a little bit more braising of vegetables was required. It may have been down to how big or small the veggies had been cut. So, different strokes for different folks, as always. If you like cut your veg thicker, adjust the cooking time accordingly.
This relatively straightforward chilli shows how the use of spices in dishes that combine lots of ingredients and textures can bring out different tastes.
What you need
- 2 big peppers
- 1 courgette
- 1 red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin red kidney beans
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 100g tomato puree
- 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp each of ground black pepper and smoked paprika
- Bunch fresh coriander
- Juice of a lime
- Irish rape-seed oil
What you do
Finely chop your peeled onion and garlic, and wash all your veggies. De-seed the peppers and chilli, and cut into thin slices. Chop the courgette into small cubes. Fry the onions in a dash of oil over a medium heat for two minutes, before adding the chopped garlic for two minutes more.
Add courgette and peppers with all the dry flavourings, season, and cook for five minutes more, stirring occasionally. Drain the kidney beans and add, along with the with chopped tomato and tomato puree.
Now turn up heat to bring to boil, cover and simmer for eight minutes.
Serve in bowls with crusted bread, chopped fresh coriander and freshly squeezed lime juice.
Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street Car Park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.